April 12 marks the next step in Boris Johnson’s plan to reopen the country.Advertisement
Preston was no different as non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality, hairdressers and gyms reopen across the city.
Met with a warm sun throughout the day people filled the centre restoring the city’s much-missed buzz.
Read more: ‘Strong and safe return’ to Preston high streets predicted by Preston BID
Covid-19 safety measures and restriction reminders were visible throughout the busy centre as footfall was high on the first day of reopening.
Shops ensured they counted customers in and out and marshals have been present throughout Preston. Hand sanitiser stalls and one way system markers encouraged eager purchasers to remain vigilant whilst in the city centre.
Shops such as Primark and Debenhams in the Fishergate centre upheld queues as the day went on, local shops also kept busy trading for the first time in months welcoming happy shoppers back in store.
Preston’s outdoor market saw the cities vibrant reopening with plenty of stall owners returning to market their goods for the first time since January. There has been smiles all around from traders as they return to their stands to sell again on the lively Flag market once more. One stall holder from The book stops here at Preston markets said: “We’re glad to be back. Nice and sunny day.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see everyone back in the market.”
Read more: What you can and can’t do as Preston and Lancashire enter the next phase of lockdown easing
See our thread of pictures and videos from the first morning of trading
Preston BID have also been on hand throughout the day encouraging busy shoppers to follow government guidelines on mask wearing, handing out free face coverings to anyone who wants one.
Mike from Preston BID stall said: “We’re giving out free facemasks to the public, they might have been caught short and forgotten or they want a spare. They’re absolutely free, washable and reusable so everyone is welcome to come and collect their free facemask.”
Some hospitality also opened in Preston city centre, as new government loosening of restrictions allows customers to eat and drink in outdoor, open spaces. People do not have to order a substantial meal like the last lockdown but must observe social distancing and must follow either the rule of six, or be in a a group of any size with no more than two households present.
Read more: Preston bars, restaurants and cafes granted new or renewed pavement licences
The sun brought plenty of business into local restaurants and pubs as they welcomed the public back. Vicky, manager at Forum Preston, Winckley Street, told us she was grateful of the fine weather as she said: “We’ve had lots of friendly faces stop by, we’ve been fully booked all week and thankfully the weathers been nice today so looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
With stage two of lockdown lifting seemingly successful, stage three is set to commence on May 17. This will mean pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors and people can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
Have you been to the city centre to see the shops reopen today? Let us know in the comments.